The Ballad Of John is basically an exercise in tuning and tone control. Make the most of the ‘ad lib’ instruction throughout the piece; the player should be able to feel where more rubato must be used. It’s not always marked, but rubato plays a big part in the performance of this piece. Particular attention should be paid to dynamic markings, phrasing and articulation. The flourish at the end can use as much ad lib and improvisation as the player and accompanist require. Inspired by a late uncle, who took his time at doing almost everything, but could show a burst of energy when it was needed.